NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 1 Games

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Here are some suggestions when trying to beat the odds.

Before the first Sunday of the 2021 NFL regular season kicks off, let’s have some fun by taking a look at the spreads for the Week 1 games. You can CLICK HERE for straight up NFL picks without regard to the spread. You can find all of the NFL betting lines via DraftKings.

My overall record last season was 134-127-6, which was good enough to beat the BGN community, which finished 130-131-6.

Here are suggestions when trying to beat the odds.


NEW YORK JETS at CAROLINA PANTHERS (-3.5): Hard to be a big believer in Sam Darnold but he could have his revenge against his old team. Matt Rhule and Joe Brady are worth believing in and the Jets are set to go through some growing pains as the NFL’s youngest team. PICK: Panthers -3.5

PITTSBURGH STEELERS at BUFFALO BILLS (-6): The skepticism around the Steelers is understandable given how Ben Roethlisberger was out of gas by the end of the 2020 season. But Pittsburgh is an organization that’s earned some benefit of the doubt and they might be getting slept on a little too much. Adding Najee Harris helps their offense and the defense is still strong. Even if they don’t win this one, they should be competitive. Josh Allen’s accuracy regression is going to be something to watch. PICK: Steelers +6

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-9) at DETROIT LIONS: Nine points is a lot for a road team, let alone one that lacks an elite quarterback. But the Lions’ situation just isn’t inspiring. A milquetoast Jared Goff with no worthwhile wide receivers to throw to seems like a recipe for a disaster. PICK: 49ers -9

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-3.5) at HOUSTON TEXANS: Look, no one should feel great about the Texans. They’re starting Tyrod Taylor and they lack continuity with so many new mediocre faces on their roster. But, I don’t know, maybe their veteran experience can be of some value early on? I’m just having a hard time believing in Urban Meyer. And Trevor Lawrence struggled behind a suspect Jags o-line in the preseason. Could at least be a close one. PICK: Texans +3.5

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-3) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Carson Wentz has never beaten Russell Wilson and that’s not about to change today. Wentz missed a lot of valuable time in camp as he adjusted to a new scheme with new teammates. Indy is also dealing with some other key losses, such as Xavier Rhodes. Russ is going to cook. PICK: Seahawks -3

ARIZONA CARDINALS at TENNESSEE TITANS (-3): There’s a reason that Kliff Kingsbury is in the conversation to be the first head coach fired this year. He’s not inspiring a ton of confidence. Neither is Kyler Murray as a passer. The Cards seem to be unrealistic about how close they are to contending. I don’t like betting on that delusion, especially against a Titans team that’s proved they’re at least always solid under Mike Vrabel. PICK: Titans -3

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (-2): If you listen to The SB Nation NFL Show, you already know that I’ve very high on the Bolts this year. I have Justin Herbert winning MVP and Brandon Staley winning Coach of the Year. There’s always danger in believing in the Chargers but I truly think things are different this time. That they’re getting points in this situation feels like a no-brainer. PICK: Chargers +2

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-2.5) at CINCINNATI BENGALS: The Vikings missing a half point to take them to -3 feels like a steal. The Bengals have had a pretty bad offseason. They didn’t do everything in their power to upgrade their offensive line. Joe Burrow didn’t have a great camp coming off injury. Ja’Marr Chase struggled and isn’t used to catching NFL footballs. Just doesn’t seem like a good recipe. Kirk Cousins is certainly flawed but one thing he is good at is beating bad teams. Also. Mike Zimmer will get his defense back to respectable form. PICK: Vikings -2.5

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at ATLANTA FALCONS (-3.5): Why at the Falcons more than standard three-point home favorites? Their interior offensive line going up against the Eagles’ interior defensive line is a mismatch. Jalen Hurts is an unknown, sure, but he could be able to take advantage of a suspect secondary. The Eagles should have a real chance to win this game outright so the points are the obvious play. PICK: Eagles +3.5

MIAMI DOLPHINS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-3.5): I’ll believe in Tua Tagovailoa when he gives us good reason to do so. Mac Jones has already shown more promise. PICK: Patriots -3.5

CLEVELAND BROWNS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-4.5): It’s hard to pick the Browns to beat the Chiefs outright at Arrowhead Stadium. I was tempted to do it, though. Cleveland had a really good offseason. The Chiefs have bigger negative indicators than people want to admit. They’re likely not going to be as fortunate in one score games as they were last year when they went 9-1. Also, new faces on the offensive line might mean upgrades but there’s some youth there that’s yet to gel. The points are tempting. PICK: Browns +4.5

GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3.5) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: I mean, don’t overthink this. Jameis Winston is a turnover machine. Aaron Rodgers is the reigning NFL MVP. PICK: Packers -3.5

DENVER BRONCOS (-2.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS: The Giants do not have positive vibes. From training camp fights to players retiring early to a number of injuries to Daniel Jones failing to show signs of making a big leap … what’s the reason to believe in the G-Men? Because Saquon Barkley is back? It doesn’t seem like he’s at 100% and the Giants need him to be to really ride him to success. The Broncos are quietly solid. PICK: Broncos -2.5

CHICAGO BEARS at LOS ANGELES RAMS (-8.5): Some of the Rams hype is getting a little too carried away. Matthew Stafford is an upgrade on Jared Goff, yes, but he’s not suddenly Joe Montana. I also think the Justin Fields hype is a little out of control but I can see him replacing Andy Dalton in this one and making a comeback that falls short. Kind of like when Michael Vick took over for Kevin Kolb in Week 1 of the Eagles’ 2010 season. Different circumstances but that kind of scenario. PICK: Bears +8.5

BALTIMORE RAVENS (-4) at LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: The Ravens are another bad vibes team but the Raiders’ incompetence mitigates some of that. Las Vegas has offensive line issues and that’s not gonna work out well for them going up against a tough front. PICK: Ravens -4

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